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What do I do or don’t do, when he/she has PTSD?

How do I act around one with PTSD?

What do I do or don’t do, when he/she has PTSD?

So you know someone with PTSD, or maybe you don’t and you are just curious about learning.

What can I do? How do I act around them? What do I talk about or don’t talk about?

There are many questions that come up, especially if you are not familiar with #PTSD. Many people who suffer from PTSD lose their friends, many times family, all because others do not understand these very things.

A person with PTSD is no different then you or I, they have just been through something traumatic which caused them to develop PTSD. They are still human, they still have feelings, and they still put clothes on just like the next person.

So here are some of many tips that are good to know:

1. Treat them just like you would anyone else! One of the worst things you could do to a person who suffers from PTSD is to treat them like they have a plague!

2. Don’t ask insensitive questions! Like “Did you kill someone?”. One, who really wants to talk about that in the first place, would you? No! Two, you may be opening a huge can of worms that really irritates them or makes them feel bad. Why? Because maybe they were NOT military or law enforcement. Civilians can have PTSD too and traumas include a wide range of what different people have experienced which lead to PTSD.

If they want to share their story with you, they will. Leave that up to them. Majority of the time they would rather talk about the same everyday things that the next person would.

3. Repeating themselves. Many with PTSD and/or TBI have some type of memory issues. If they do repeat something just go with it. No need to state “you’ve already told me that.” When you say things like that it makes them feel belittled and they are going to get really quiet on you.

4. Give them space. They my not always be able to keep a schedule, on rough days they will want to stay home. Those with PTSD do not like others seeing the rough side or what they battle that comes with it. Be respectful of that and something that might not happen today can always be rescheduled for another day.

5. Don’t make “fun” of anyone with a disability. One, It’s not nice or respectful in the first place. Two, You never know who it could effect or even someone else they might know.

6. Never judge them. You don’t know or understand what they have been through that lead them to PTSD so don’t judge them on something you don’t understand.

7. Have respect for personal space. PTSD can be caused by many different types of traumas. Many times a person needs their personal physical space from others. Avoid approaching them from behind without them knowing. Even touching them in a friendly manner sometimes can lead to a trigger. Read their body language, if they are joking with you and tapping your shoulder then it’s probably okay to do it back. Use your brain. 

8. Don’t put them down! One with PTSD has a hard enough time maintaining their self-esteem and sure does not need outside influence which could cause it to become worse! You wouldn’t want someone putting you down or talking bad about you, so don’t do it to them. Point out the good things don’t focus on the negative.

Would you walk up behind an elderly woman and put your hand on her shoulder? You might but if you do you stand a good chance of being waled on by her handbag! So no, don’t do things like that to one with PTSD either. 

9. Learn about PTSD! Even if you don’t think you know someone that has it, odds are you actually do! PTSD can affect anyone, it’s not only military related. It can be caused by a car accident, a rape or attack, a natural disaster, even from being in a hospital! It can be from anything that caused a trauma in a person’s life where symptoms last for more than a month. And many times you are not going to know about a sensitive matter.

10. Use your brain before your mouth. If it is something that you would not want said to you, then why say it to someone else. Every person can think before they speak 

A person with PTSD is still a person, a human being. They can throw a great cook-out, they can be a great friend, a great father or mother, a wonderful part of a family or workplace. They just have an unseen disability that causes them to react and/or view things differently but makes them no less of a person. Some of the most kindest, caring, and sensible people you will ever meet have PTSD… it makes them appreciate life more than the average person that takes life for granted. 

Take the time to educate yourself, and unfortunately… you never know when it might be you in their very shoes. Traumas can happen to anyone. What PTSD causes does bring changes to a person’s life, but you can make a positive change! LEARN now and you could change the life of someone else… or maybe even help save one!

~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook page

PTSD and the Reality of it…

PTSD and the Reality of it…

This is one of the most crucial and critical topics we can discuss! Unfortunately, it is a topic and conversation that many people put off. Many people get into a mindset of…

Oh their PTSD is not THAT bad for us to have to do that.” or
Oh they cope just fine…

There is nothing worse than a crisis starting, or has already happened, and hearing “HELP! I don’t know what to do, this is what is happening…” or “If only I had done this…” or “I had no clue what was/is happening or what to do…“.

Folks, let’s face reality… we are talking about PTSD! 

PTSD is NOT something people should be fearful of! Just to state that upfront in a very serious way! It is however something you need to have knowledge about! Knowledge to know what to do, when to do it, how to respond in different situations, and how to manage things BEFORE something serious happens, etc. And the knowledge to understand that no matter how mild or severe you think one’s PTSD is, you never dismiss PTSD is in reality at hand, at all times.

PTSD can come with many different types of symptoms… flashbacks, nightmares/night terrors, frightening thoughts, anger, frustration, dissociative symptoms, concentration issues, cognitive dysfunction or memory issues, hyper arousal/being startled easily or feeling on edge, high alert, anxiety, avoidance, numbing feelings, loss of interest in things one enjoyed, depression, isolation, guilt, survivor’s guilt, suicidal thoughts/tendencies, etc. etc. etc.

Now, is this something that you just blow off or sweep under a rug? NOT on your LIFE or their’s! LITERALLY!!!

Spouses/Partners, keep in mind I am saying this with love and because I care about EVERY single one of you! But I have a bone to pick with many of you that I hope you take to heart, someone HAS to say it! So I’ll be the bad guy on this one and hopefully you will be thankful I said this later…

Many of you just simply have not been around PTSD enough to have the knowledge yet, you are still learning, so this will hopefully be of help. Then there are some others, well, you are tossing to the side reality. Whatever the reason or where you stand, I hope this helps! 

YOU need to, have to, step up to the plate when PTSD symptoms escalate! For yourself AND your partner’s BEST interest. (Family members or friends this could go for you too) There is nothing worse to me then hearing about a crisis at hand and a spouse saying, “But he/she will get mad at me.” REALLY??? Reality check, they have PTSD, most likely they are going to get upset or mad anyway if their symptoms are escalated, that’s a part of PTSD. BUT isn’t them getting mad or upset at you better then someone getting hurt OR you having a funeral to plan! REALITY! Fact is, they may get mad or upset up front but I can pretty much guarantee they will thank you for helping, later when symptoms decrease.

When a person is experiencing escalated symptoms, most likely they are not going to be able to think rationally, they are not always going to know what they need to do for themselves, and if they are in a flashback… well that brings a whole new ballgame, they may be physically there but in their mind they are completely somewhere else, and to them you may be someone else! They are right back to that trauma. If you sit back and do nothing, well, sooner or later it’s not going to play out as a pretty picture.

YOU are their spouse/partner! YOU are their support person, they rely on YOU rather you realize it or not, rather they say it to you or not, when PTSD causes them not to be able to rely on themselves. PTSD is NO joke! They did not ask for this, they do not do these things or act these ways on purpose, they are NOT out to purposely harm anyone or hurt someone’s feelings. PTSD is what happened to them! Even a person who has milder symptoms and/or has learned to cope very well can backslide into severe symptoms from time to time, and at any point in time! It only takes one trigger.

As a spouse/partner AND/OR as the one with PTSD… you need a plan for the worst case scenarios that could happen! Again, don’t say “that won’t happen“, if that’s what you are doing you are being blind to reality, have not truly accepted PTSD is a part of your life yet, or simply have not learned enough yet.

Oh yes, before I go any further here… I did not say exactly what this conversation is about, because many of you would have skipped right by this if I had said this up front.  It’s about safety! Safety protocol… as Craig, myself, and our family calls it. Putting a plan together, and knowing in advance how to handle situations when they do come. It’s PTSD, situations will come sooner or later. With every ounce of love, heart, and caring bone in my body I have to offer… THIS is a reality check!

Now that that is out of the way and hopefully I have your attention… 

What are things you can do in advance to help everyone when PTSD symptoms escalate?

* Emergency contacts

Do NOT wait until there is a crisis at hand to dig for phone numbers or ask people who you should contact! Make a list of emergency and crisis line phone numbers, addresses, even print out maps of how to get there!

When a crisis comes, you are NOT going to be able to focus clearly or may not have the time to dig for information. Make that list NOW! Hang it where everyone can get to it or see it in your home. Save info to your phone, carry a print out with you at all times.

* Medications/Weapons

This is urgent! PTSD as well as depression and survivor’s guilt DO in reality come with thoughts of suicide. Even if you have never heard a person say they have thought about it, reality is I personally have never come across a person with PTSD that the thought has not at least slipped quickly through their mind at some point in time.

PLEASE, I will beg you on this one! Use safety in your home! Lock those things up!

Weapons: I am NOT saying a person cannot own weapons or have a means to protect themselves, so please do NOT even start that debate here or it will be deleted, I believe in rights. But I also believe in being responsible and using safety precautions when owning weapons. I mean let’s be serious here, many with PTSD were or are military, law enforcement, or grew up knowing and understanding weapon safety… if anyone knows about weapon safety it’s THEM! Many others have experienced a personal attack and do have the right to protect themselves. So I am simply stating to have safety in place so when PTSD symptoms escalate no accidents happen.

Another thing I have actually heard of several cases of, and do want to bring to your attention are nightmares/terrors and weapons. When one is having a nightmare they are back to the time and reality of their trauma. Weapons under a pillow or beside the bed can be a safety issue during nightmares. It needs to be taken seriously! Even a person that is more than safe while awake, may experience things out of their normal during nightmares/terrors. I have heard of one confirmed case where a person committed suicide during a nightmare. PLEASE be cautious to reality.

Medications: Lock them up! It is an overall safety precaution for ANYONE that enters your home! Many people have children and/or grandchildren, friends with children that visit, even pets in the home. It also keeps PTSD from turning to medications as a way out when those suicidal thoughts come AND/OR accidentally overdosing when memory and/or concentration are at hand.

* Abuse

Unfortunately abuse can happen. It can come with anger and flashbacks with PTSD. PLEASE have a plan in place. No one purposely abuses another when PTSD symptoms are at hand, but it can happen. Make a plan together! “If a symptom escalates to this, we will do this…”. Spouses/partners, IF you have to leave a home due to abuse taking place, safety does come first… but for everyone!

PLEASE do not leave your PTSD partner alone! Have someone that the two of you AND the designated person have agreed upon go and stay with your partner! At least to just have someone present on or just off of the property until the symptoms decrease. Many times once a spouse/partner leaves, the one with PTSD can experience many different thoughts that could lead to self harm. No one wants this situations to happen! Make a plan ahead of time!!!

DO NOT be one to cry wolf! We all know where that gets a person and you won’t be taken seriously when something may indeed happen. There are many ways to talk one down from or manage anger or VERBAL outbursts. (See my postings regarding anger and outbursts and PTSD and Anger… some things to try which may help BOTH people and by all means talk to your doctors!) If you are being yelled at when PTSD symptoms have escalated, that is NOT physical abuse! There are many things one can learn to help manage verbal outbursts.

I know verbal abuse is very real, I know it can be very scary, as well as cause mental harm. Learn what to do for these situations even if it’s something as simple as saying “I’m going to another room so you can cope with your anger. If you need me I am here.” and remove yourself from the situation. Calling law enforcement every time one with PTSD (only) yells at you will eventually be taken as a non-serious situation. You do not want this to happen.

* Emergency Situations

If emergency responders are needed, contact them! It’s not the time to say “oh he/she will get mad at me”. TALK about this ahead of time! IF you have to call law enforcement or medical help, PLEASE tell them the person has PTSD AND how to approach them correctly so symptoms do not escalate even more than they already will, as well as you are not putting the one with PTSD OR the emergency crews in any unknown to them harms way, especially during flashbacks. Do NOT allow someone to walk into a home blind to what is happening! You can save a lot of extra stress and heartache by keeping everyone properly informed. And I will tell you right now, law enforcement is sent in as “get the situation under control”, it’s their job. ANY and ALL info you can give them BEFORE they get there will be of help to both them as well as the one with PTSD!

* Children 

I have written several articles regarding teaching children and safety. The largest mistake, in my opinion I see, is a parent who causes children to fear a PTSD parent. Many times a parent will allow their own fears or opinions roll over to their children. Many times conversations happen in front of children that are NOT for little ears. This is mentally damaging to a child, their personal development, as well as their relationship with BOTH of their parents.

TEACH children on their age levels what to do in different situations, TEACH them about PTSD on their age level of learning, TEACH them coping skills they can also use. You want your family to form and maintain a healthy balance. That balance only comes when everyone knows safety protocol and learn about life with PTSD. Children are still learning, they have not developed stigma yet, YOU can make a huge difference in their lives as well as others by simply teaching them about PTSD and how to live life with it, just as you would teach them anything else in life they need to learn.

* Focus 

Many people lose focus in escalated situation. BREATHE! As a spouse/partner these are the times that your focus is needed the most! Do not over react to the situation, focus on how to help or what needs to take place to get things back to a manageable level. These are the times that you have to focus so you can use everything you have learned and the things that could help BOTH of you. What you do, how you say things, even your body language will matter.

      
From time to time I do have to get serious about certain topics, this is one of those times that it is urgent and serious. These are just a few things of MANY that can be of great help when symptoms escalate. PLEASE do something now. Use this basic information to build a plan for you and your family. Don’t wait until things are out of hand to try to figure out how to handle a situation. I know you won’t always have the answers for every situations, no one will every time, but what you do now can sure help you and your entire family when situations do come. Please don’t dismiss the reality, embrace it and use it to your advantage so you are prepared. Again, PTSD is not something to fear, knowledge brings balance. 😉

Much love to ALL of you! You’ve got this, you CAN do this, it’s simply communicating and making a plan. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD :FaceBook Page

A Spouse’s Story PTSD :Website

Working through PTSD Symptoms

I adjusted/added to and re-posted an older posting yesterday when I saw that there was a larger problem going on then what I was trying to get to writing about. I wanted everyone to realize that with PTSD being in your life, you have to take the time to look at yourself and what you are doing or acting like.

With PTSD, communication, listening to each other, taking a good look at yourself, and learning what is being said to you means, are going to be huge steps to moving forward and working through the hard times and rough patches. You have to know and understand why each person feels the way they do, then find a way to make changes and correct the issue. Rather you know details of what happened or not, it does not matter, the symptoms that are at hand and what is going on right now this moment is what you have to pay attention to and how to manage them, the rest will come out when it’s time for it to and they are comfortable doing so.

PTSD is not just going away. Life does change, and many people are so angry within themselves at those changes that it can consume you and mask the fact that you have to make changes in order to make it through what has changed in your life. That’s not easy, and it’s going to take a lot of work from both sides of the fence.

PTSD can bring a serious fight. Craig and I went through that. He would lash out at me and this strong headed southern lady was so angry at the changes in him and what he was lashing out at me with, I would lash right back with a vengeance. But you know what, I can’t even recall the last time we had a fight. Why? Because I stopped fighting and started listening to what he was lashing out and learning about PTSD and him, and found the reasons, “the why’s”, and worked on a solution. Since I did that, we talk now, we don’t fight. He still has anger, he still has all of the PTSD symptoms and they are still bad, but we learned to work together so we can talk instead of fighting/arguing.

You have to realize, it’s hard for one with PTSD to explain their feelings. There’s a lot of serious things they are battling and putting it into words is hard to do when many times they can’t figure out what’s going on themselves or why. There’s too many changes, anger, frustration, sometimes memory issues, anxiety, then reliving what happened to them over and over just keeps everything stirred up.

So someone has to break the cycle. Things are not going to get better, and relationships are going to fall apart, until someone breaks the cycle in order for both of you to start healing the anger and resentment PTSD brings. It’s not “taking it”, it’s not allowing verbal abuse to happen, it’s about getting to the root of the problem so both of you can heal your issues with each other and find the solutions so the battles stop between you.

If you have a partner that is lashing out at you and saying you are the problem, why? What is the root to them saying that? What are they actually feeling that is causing this? The answer is probably it’s not you at all, you just happen to be the one there with them. The problem is probably how you are responding to them OR how they are not able to cope yet with what they are feeling or going through therefore it’s lashing out in anger. What’s the root of the problem? It’s not at all you or you or them, it’s PTSD and what PTSD causes. It’s a feeling or frustration of something they are struggling with and maybe can’t put it into words. TALK to them! Don’t raise your voice, don’t fight back, talk to them and have the patience and open mind to find what is causing this reaction and help them find a solution to help manage it. It might even be a simple they need an ear to listen, without any input.

When arguments start you are not really hearing what each other is saying, you are fighting to hold your own ground. Stop and think about it, until you listen and stop saying “it’s not me, it’s you”, you are not likely going to move forward. Sometimes it may be you, sometimes it may be them, but until you listen to each other and find a solution, nothing is going to change.

Things are going to be heated, people worked up, fingers being pointed at each other, and it’s keeping you from moving forward and finding things that work. Distance is being placed between people because you are battling each other instead of battling PTSD. STOP! Stop right now, right here, and find a different approach… obviously arguing and pointing fingers is not working. Someone has to start a new, positive approach, it can be either of you or it can be both of you together, but something has to give.

There are two magic words for anger when it comes, calmly spoken “I’m listening.” Those words say a lot! They say I’m not arguing with you, I care about you, I care about what you are thinking, feeling, going through, and I am listening so I can better understand you so we can help us.

I remember the days of angry words, hurt feelings, many tears, breaks in communication, bitterness, being resentful towards each other… and you know what, I/We don’t miss them one bit and glad we can manage them now. PTSD still tries us, and the fact is, it always will. But we found a way to communicate, listen to each other openly and opened minded, and work through those times together so those horrible relationship damaging days don’t return.

And, I had to be the one to take that step. Craig wasn’t being allowed to do it, PTSD had too firm of a damaging grip on him. He wanted to fight everything that came and every little thing that was not what he thought it should be like. I recognized that, and I did what I had to, to break through to him… and it boiled down to simply listening and learning to communicate about what we both were going through. It by no means happened over night, but it happened. It took a lot of love, patience, time, understanding, and looking past the negative words lashed out to get to the root of the problems, as well as many times biting my tongue until I found the right and calm words to speak. But we did it… and so can you.

PTSD becoming a part of your life changed things. It’s a fact you can not put to the side. You can wish and hope for things to be the way they use to be, but until you face the facts at hand and accept that PTSD is a part of life now, and the fact that life is now going to be different, it’s going to hard for you to find that new better relationship or life. Life changes rather PTSD is a part of it or not, it’s a fact, and facing life with PTSD is just another change you face just as you would anything else. You have to start somewhere, and it takes a lot of strength and being opened minded to new things and starting fresh without hanging on to all of the hurt PTSD has already caused. But you can do it. We have.

It does not matter if you are new to PTSD or if you have lived with it for years on end, you can start right now making positive changes. Try it.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Something for everyone to think about

Something both people (and family) need to think about when a mental illness/disorder is a part of your life.

You know everything I post has a true meaning behind it. And this one, well, this one hits the heart strings for me more then you can begin to imagine.

I am seeing a huge problem in families. I’m seeing fingers pointed and blame being placed, I’m seeing families falling apart or have huge struggles, I’m seeing things that will tear your heart to pieces.

I hope EVERY single one of you will take the time to read this, you don’t have to like it, you don’t have to share it… unless you choose to, but I ask that you just simply read it and really think deeply and with your heart about what I am saying.

I have some sort of communication with literally thousands of people every day. I am posting this with a great deal of knowledge, understanding, and I don’t take sides… I say it with “facts on the table”.

I want you to ask yourself an honest question…

“I’m I being fair with my judgments (finger pointing) I am doing or have done?”

I know that’s a very hard question to swallow, for both of you. I know the tears it can bring and the hurt that can be included in facing that question, but I also know that until you face it, there’s a chance you are going to cause your world and your family’s world to turn upside down and then some.

There are many people, and I’m not judging anyone, facts on the table here… there are many people that are being harshly quick to judge or point fingers at their family member that suffers from a mental illness. Why? Because they do not completely understand it therefore do not know how to cope and live life beside it.

And I am not only referring to PTSD here. I’m talking about ANY mental disorder/illness. Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Dissociative Disorder, etc etc etc.

Living beside someone who suffers from any mental disorder is hard, I will be the first one to tell you that. It’s not going to be easy. There’s not a quick fix or a pill to solve the problem. It’s not just going to go away either. But things can get better then they are right now.

But I also know that your loved one who suffers from whatever the disorder might be, also did not ask for it! It might be something they inherited, it might be due to a trauma that happened to them, and so on. But they did not ask for it. Just as a person who fights cancer or a person who is blind or a person who has no arms or legs did not ask for that to be a part of their life, neither did one who suffers mentally.

When you chose for them to be a part of your life, didn’t you choose them for a good reason? That reason has not changed. They are still that same person. You accepted them for who they are, the characteristics they have, the connection and love between the two of you… only what happened has changed and the symptoms that come with that.

Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean those things are lost. There are too many that are jumping to saying “this is not fair to me” or “I can’t handle this anymore” or “I’ve been unhappy for way too long”, etc. Sometimes that is a fair statement, so I won’t disrespect that. However in many cases it is simply a statement because you do not understand how to cope or live life beside and with someone who suffers, and many times problems stem from a simple lack of communication.

It is real easy to blame the one with the mental condition for all of the problems. I see it happen every day.

Nope, I’m not leaving out the one who is suffering from PTSD or other disorder/illness. It’s a two way street and you also have to take into consideration your spouse/partner and the changes that they also go through by choosing to live life with you. Mental illnesses are not fair, not to anyone, but it does not mean your relationship has to be rough. There are so many things that can help, help control anger and other symptoms. I know PTSD is hard and I know it takes everything you have to keep track of yourself each day to make it through to the next, but I also know that person standing beside you chose to be there. Do everything in your power to help yourself so your relationship does not slide backwards. Learn to communicate with them.

So I have to ask an honest question. Have you, both of you, taken the time to look at yourself? Look in the mirror and really ask yourself “Have I REALLY tried everything?” Very rarely is an issue a one sided problem. You really have to look at the big picture and accept when you yourself might be wrong. I guarantee you the one with the mental illness is not always the one that is wrong, just like the one standing beside them is not always going to be wrong. No one is perfect, and if you think you are then you are living in a fantasy world with blinders on.

Think about:

-How are you acting?
-How are you responding to them?
-What are you doing to help?
-Are you actually helping?
-Have you accepted their illness or what they are experiencing?
-Have you learned about their/your illness so you know how to live beside it/with it?
-Have you been to therapy yourself?
-Have you yourself learned coping skills so you can handle things mental illness can bring?
-Have you received counseling together?
-Are you giving them a fair, and I mean honestly fair chance?
-Are you noticing and excepting when your loved one does or is trying to better themselves?
-Are you the one that’s angry and not coping with it well? And that’s either of you, spouses are just as guilty when it comes to anger as the one with PTSD.

There’s a long list of questions you can ask yourself, what I said is a very short list of things to think about in honesty.

Have you stopped placing blame on the person you love and realized it’s not them to place blame on? It’s not them that you can blame, no one asked for this, it’s again, something that happened. Something that was out of their or your control.

Have you honestly looked at yourself and said “Hey, I know they have this illness but what am I doing or maybe I’m the one not acting right or may have something wrong… or maybe I’m the one that is wrong this time.” Again, it goes both ways.

Maybe you are overwhelmed with their illness, maybe you do suffer from anxiety, walking on eggshells, caregiver stress, and you might have developed your own symptoms from what the two of you have been through. But have you faced that might be a possibility and have you faced how to get through it… and together?

Life is yours to choose. You decide what happens to you and your family. You choose if you will stay or walk away. And those things are not things I will sit here and tell you to do or not to do. That’s your choice to make. But I will ask you to look at the big picture first and make sure whatever decision you make is the right one for your situation, and there is still no guarantee it will be the right one. Life does not come with us knowing the whole story up front, there’s no flipping to the end of a book to read what the ending is going to be. But I will tell you that life is not perfect and it’s not a fairy tale story of white picket fences and happy everythings. Life comes with trials and errors. It’s what you choose to do with them when they come that will make the difference.

No matter where you stand, rather you have PTSD, are standing beside one who does, are a family member, or a friend… work together, stop pointing fingers of who did what to who, and start finding solutions to help you get past the negative things and move forward to better and more balanced relationships. It’s not each other you need to be taking things out on, PTSD is what needs to be battled. Learn to communicate, pay attention to each other, work together, and find the things that work for you both to make life the best it can be. It can happen.

Just really think about this please.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

When you want to throw your hands in the air and scream “REALLY?”

You know lol, sometimes you just want to throw your hands in the air and scream “REALLY?” 

You all are by no means alone when it comes to others not understanding! Not getting it, or choosing not to.

“What’s wrong with you? Why are you having so many headaches? You’re not doing enough. You need to get outside more and get things done around there, you are not getting outside enough or doing things. If it’s too hot you have things inside you need to be doing. I already told you that. I don’t get what’s wrong with you?” -Spoken to someone who has had disabilities for years and information is known by the person who said these things.

Well, RIGHT THERE is a huge part of it!!! The words and the way things are spoken.

When PTSD has a grip on one, that lower stage of PTSD, which if they were not already in you may have just put them there, you don’t kick a person in the teeth when they are down!!! And that’s exactly what that conversation was doing.

SO, here’s the answer to that person’s questions and statements…

It’s called PTSD chronic, Depressive Disorder, it’s also called Migraines. (For an example, it could be whatever combination at hand)

Now where those statements and questions came from, was not a stranger. They were from one that has been informed, has been educated, knows what is going on, but obviously does not view the facts at hand or accept that they are real.

If you are the person that says things like this, I have some really serious information for you. And I really hope you pay close attention. And if you don’t think I’m right, you might just be the one regretting your actions and words.

When a person with PTSD is struggling, your words and the way you treat them can mean everything. It can make a difference in your relationship with that person or it can cause them to completely walk away or distance themselves from you as a form of self preservation. And with many cases of PTSD, your words or actions can easily be the straw that broke the camel’s back and send them over the edge. And I don’t mean crazy as you would phrase it, I mean them choosing the choice between life or death. Suicide is no joking or put off matter when it comes to one with PTSD. The numbers already clearly state that fact!

Clearly the conversation at hand as an example has serious repercussions to it…

“What’s wrong with you?”

I think that is very clear and known! This question actually needs to be reversed, what’s wrong with you? You have ALL of the information right in front of you of what is wrong including all of the why’s to it with complete explanations, but yet you choose to not utilize it or accept it! The one with PTSD has the obvious problem of PTSD. Look in the mirror at what YOU are doing, it’s sure not helping or being positively supportive.

“Why do have so many headaches? You’re not doing enough.”

Well there has been a diagnoses of migraines, this is nothing new, it’s been happening for years, it’s being treated to the best possible, and getting outside more etc is not an answer for migraines. Again, all of the knowledge of this is right before you. When you ask questions like this when you know you have been given all of the information at hand, you are adding stress to the person who is suffering. You are not accepting they are doing everything they can do to manage it. You are causing more guilt that they are not doing enough, when in fact migraines can completely drain a person for up to 24 hours. They are painful, they cause upset stomachs, temporary loss of vision, sometimes hearing, and they are extremely draining. And you are causing additional damage to their mental state of mind.

“You’re not getting outside enough. You aren’t doing enough. You need to be doing things that you should be doing.”

Pushing someone to do something when maybe they just are not capable of that anymore or have to alter the way they do things, is negative support. Again, accept the facts on the table and if you choose not to understand with the facts of a situation laid before you, then by all means don’t add your input! You are tampering with someone else’s disabilities, their self-esteem, and mental state of mind. You either need to step up to the plate and learn or you need to avoid giving your uneducated input!

Then there is that word “NEED”, you need to be doing

If you clearly have stated you don’t get it, then how can you tell someone what they “need” to be doing? YOU don’t know what they need or don’t need to be doing. YOU are the one not being rational. You are telling them they need to be doing something as if there are no disabilities at hand. Well, let me tell you something, YOU need to take a reality check!

You can not tell a person what they need if you don’t accept and/or understand their disabilities. You don’t know their needs, therefore you can’t give helpful or accurate advice.

In the example you have a combination of PTSD chronic, Depressive Disorder, as well as migraines, but you are going to tell them what to do, what they should be doing, and what’s “best” for them? YOU don’t know what’s best for them if you have not even taken the time to learn what you have been given to learn to help you understand their disabilities, and you have not accepted what is going on with them! And you very easily could be making the matters worse!

PTSD changes people. Then add whatever other disabilities may be combined with it. They are still the same person but the way things are handled, the way they view things, what they can or can not do, has changed. They have to cope with things in different ways, they have different ways they have to manage themselves as well as their disabilities. And point blank, you can’t expect them to be exactly the same as they were before their disabilities “happened” to them. Until you can accept those hard facts, your words and actions are or can be extremely damaging!

Now, let me go further with this and show you what can happen to a person, and what they can experience when you say things such as the example given…

This is what that person you so dearly care about and you are telling what they should be like or what they should be doing, is now experiencing due to you choosing to remain uneducated and not accepting the facts.

“They don’t get it. They know what’s wrong with me. Why can’t they understand? I try so hard to make it through each day and obviously I’m a failure. I should be able to do things like I use to. I have let them down. I’m broken and no good to anyone anymore. Why are they not understanding? What else can I do to make them understand that what I go through is real? They expect me to act like there is nothing wrong, my disabilities are real, why can’t they accept them? I am so frustrated and angry. Why did they even say that? I am trying so hard and their expectations I can not meet no matter how hard I try. I’ve told them what’s wrong, we have given them details. They don’t listen to anything we say to them. I have let them down, I have let everyone down, I should be like I use to be. I can’t help that I have migraines, the doctors are treating them the best they can, how are having migraines my fault? I did not ask for any of this! I want to be who I use to be! I’m a failure at everything…”

I think you get my point, or should!

Oh, but wait, we aren’t done yet. That conversation does not end there. Remember you still have PTSD and other disabilities in on this conversation.

Now it rolls over to others. Who takes care of that person you just spoke that original example to? I will take a good guess it’s NOT YOU! You are not there to see the aftermath your words and/or actions caused. You are not the one there talking to them and making them realize they are not a failure at all. You are not the one there reminding them why they are important, why life is worth living. You are not the one there to help them cope and manage through the frustration, anger, and feelings your words caused them. You are not the one there to sit and rationalize with them for hours on end, hoping your words can bring them back down to a reasonable level. You are not the one there to have to walk them through coping skills and helping them manage the symptoms as they come. You know what? You are just NOT the one there!

Anyone can learn the ins and outs of PTSD, you can learn correct and positive ways to support a person who suffers, but you have to choose to. If you choose not to learn, not to educate yourself, not to take any positive steps to help that person you say you care about so much… then as my mom use to say, “Zip Your Lips!” If you are choosing not to do something positive, then by all means don’t say or do things that will damage the person who is suffering and/or the ones taking care of them! What you say to one person does effect not only them but all of those supporting and taking care of them.

Taking care of someone who has PTSD and/or other disabilities takes a lot more then people outside the home realize, fact is, should know. If you ever wonder why some people suffer in silence, or others distance themselves, and even others don’t see any way out but to take their own life? Well, you just heard some reasons and explanations to exactly why.

PTSD no matter what level it is, is very serious and can be very damaging if not handled and managed correctly. If you have someone you care about in your life that suffers from this deadly disability, you might want to start taking it seriously. You push a person too hard or in the wrong ways by your actions and words, you can very factually push them out of your life or out of life period.

If someone has trusted you to tell you what is going on with them, or what happened to them, don’t misuse that information. If you care, take the time to educate yourself so you can provide your loved one with positive support! PTSD is not just going away, and they are not going to mysteriously be who they use to be again. Face the facts, accept them, and learn. THAT’S what people do who truly care!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Some basics to living with one who has PTSD

Some basics to living with one who has PTSD

I’ve had a lot of questions come to me the past few days, so I want to touch on some things that for many are “need to knows” quickly. My journal page of my website does contain many of my writings in greater detail, so always feel welcome to use it as a resource when need be.

As I always remind you, I am not a doctor or in any medical field. I am a spouse who lives life beside one who suffers from PTSD and other disabilities, and bring our story and experiences to you as a form of support and personal knowledge of real life with PTSD. If you have an emergency, please contact your local emergency helpline or professionals.

* Acceptance.

PTSD is not just going to go away. You can’t change what a person with PTSD experiences. They are not going to just snap out of it. And many times, if you try to argue or convince them they can “get over it”, especially while they are triggered, you can make the situation even worse. You are not going to be able to “get it out of their head”. That is not facing reality of what PTSD is or what comes with it.

Accepting PTSD and the fact the person does have it will be one of the greatest things you can do to help them. PTSD can be manageable. But it’s not just going away.

* Learn.

The more you learn about PTSD AND the whys to what comes with it, the better things can get and the easier it will be for you to help someone manage and cope with PTSD symptoms.

* Details.

Details of what happened to a person needs to be up to them if they want to share that with you or not. Do NOT push them to tell you! When or if they are ready to, they will. PTSD can come with huge trust issues, you have to give a person time to truly trust you in order for them to share their deepest pains with you, and even then, they might not want to. You have to accept that. Focus on the now and helps them move forward to learn to cope with the symptoms. The past is the past even though it is or can be a very real “now” to one with PTSD. Focus on helping them instead of details of their past.

If you push someone to share what happened, make sure you are prepared for whatever triggers or aftermath comes with that. Sharing details when one is not ready to can stir up PTSD symptoms very quickly!

To those with PTSD, details, or details to a certain point, can help one better understand you, and the “why” to it all. But it is up to you when or if you are ready to share those things that happened.

* Coping skills.

I am a true believer that coping skills help greatly. I have seen them help. They are not going to make PTSD go away, however they help to manage it. They are also highly recommended for those who live with a person who suffers from PTSD, they help keep a balance not only in your home but also within yourself.

* Professional Help.

Always a good idea! Even if PTSD symptoms do not seem severe, it’s always good to have professional help ready or there if needed. Many times just regular visits or therapy appointments can help keep one with PTSD on track and moving forward.

Family members, this goes for you too! PTSD comes with a lot of different ways of life and at times it can become overwhelming. If you are in that position, make sure you reach for professional help yourself. There is nothing wrong with doing that! It does not mean you can’t handle things, it means you are being wise enough to make sure you are taking care of yourself so you can help others.

* Support System.

Everyone needs some type of support system! Even this page is a form of support. Support comes in many forms. Family members, friends, others in the same position, online support, local support groups… there is actually a lot of support available, find what is best for you! Anyone that thinks they can manage this alone really needs to rethink that.

* Benefits.

This is something many come to me about. I know a lot, but this is not my area of expertise lol. If you are having benefit issues, please contact a professional or someone who knows the system well.

For Veteran benefits there is a great organization that can be found at Veterans benefits support. They are awesome and have answered many questions of my own.

* Time.

You are not going to learn everything you need to know about PTSD over night! It takes time, patience, acceptance, and a lot of learning. There is not a quick fix to PTSD, but time and taking steps to DO, will be in your favor to things getting better than they may be right now. Allow yourself and/or the one with PTSD time to learn to manage life with PTSD. Giving up before you take time to learn and understand could be detrimental to you, others, and life itself.

* Words and actions.

Life changes when PTSD becomes a part of it. That’s just a hard, truthful, fact to it all. Words and your actions are very real with PTSD and need a great deal of consideration before being used or done. Be careful with your wording! Some things can in reality set a person with PTSD over the edge, to a place where they feel this battle is not worth fighting. Suicide and PTSD are extremely real! It is nothing to brush off or ignore. The “that won’t happen to me/him/her” does not exist when PTSD enters your life.

* Suicide or Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies.

Continuing what I was saying…
These are extremely real even to a person who would have never had thought these things before. PTSD and the symptoms cause a lot of changes to ones life, this goes for family members also! Make sure you educate yourself on signs of suicide as well as ways to prevent or manage the feelings when they come. Having the knowledge ahead of time can be extremely important. And could never well save a life!

* Emergency Numbers.

ALWAYS have emergency numbers, addresses, etc on hand! When or if an emergency arises, you do not need to be trying to locate these. Have a list made ahead of time!

* Communication.

I preach this one!!! Until you start communicating with each other, it is going to be a hard struggle with making it through what PTSD brings to your life. The battle before you is PTSD, NOT each other. Work together so you can find ways to improve your life with PTSD being a part of it.

* Trial and Error.

This is a part of life. But when you add PTSD to it, that part becomes even larger. Don’t give up on trying to find things that work for you. And understand that what may have worked for you at one point might also change as your symptoms change. There is no one set guideline to follow, each person is their own individual and what works for one person may not work for another. But you don’t know until you honestly try! When something doesn’t work or help to the point you want it to, don’t give up! Try something else!

These are just a few of the many things that come with managing life with PTSD. Life can be manageable, it’s not going to be the same as it was before, but there IS still life! Take the time to learn and what can help you or your loved one.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

When one with PTSD puts space between themselves and loved ones…

I had this question brought to me, so I wanted to write more about it…

“This is my very first time posting anything … But I strongly believe my significant other has PTSD … this isn’t the first time that he’s stopped completely responding to my messages, calls, emails, ALL forms of communication whatsoever with not even a word to give me any clue of what’s going on… He just pushing me away by not saying anything at all. He’s an Army Ranger (has been deployed 4 going on 5 times in a short few months) and it’s been a little over a year since the last time he’s done this sorta “disappearing act” on me… I don’t think I’m strong enough to keep going through this. Can anybody tell me if this is along the lines of PTSD? Because it surely seems like it to me… Could just really use some words of encouragement. Thanks for letting me vent guys, may you all be blessed.” -Mia

I have found that this is very common, and there are actually several here going through this same thing right now. With him having another deployment coming up, it’s kind of normal for him to be reacting by pulling away rather it is PTSD or not, there are many that do the same thing. They get in almost a mode of preparing themselves for what is coming, their focus goes to their mission, and a mental and/or physical separation from those close to them can happen. I know as the loved one, this is when you want to be the closest to them and comfort them before they leave, but that’s not always how they view things when in deployment “mode”.

If PTSD is at hand, many times ones with PTSD feel as if they are a burden on their loved ones, many times feel the loved one can do better then them, have a better life if they were not a part of it, etc. It’s a way of them feeling like they are protecting you from what they are experiencing. Then you add another deployment to it, the emotional and physical distance can very well happen.

It’s not something to always take personal. If you want to be there, just reassure him you are there for him… just don’t over do it. 😉 That can sometimes push them further away. It can be a difficult balance to find when they pull away, and sometimes a blunt “Would you please let me know you are okay or not okay and what is going on, I’m worried about you.” Can help with communication.

It comes down to having to be open and honest with each other on how you BOTH are feeling, and in deployment mindset, that could be hard for him to even talk about right now. Rather this is due to deployment or a combination with PTSD, it’s one of those situations where you have to not take it personal and keep in mind what he may be experiencing right now. As hard as that can be.

Deployments and/or PTSD can make a relationship stronger in all reality, but you both have to find a balance in communication and understanding of what each other is experiencing. His distance may very well be his way of coping, and he might not realize what it’s causing you to feel.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD (and immediate family members) vs Family Members

PTSD (and immediate family) vs Family members

The bottom line is that “vs” should NOT even exist!

To say this up front, every family structure may be different, and this is in no way meant to be negative towards family members, it is simply to help those families that are having struggles right now have a little better understanding.

This is so hard when it comes to PTSD. There is no other way to say it! You are going to have some people who accept PTSD whether they understand it or not and are positive in your life. You are going to have ones who will fight with you forever that PTSD is not real or there’s nothing wrong with you or your loved one. You are going to have those that try to rip families apart or feel your relationship is not fair to one or the other of you. Then there are going to be ones that over time do learn that PTSD is a real disorder/injury and eventually take the time to try to understand. There are many different shoes being worn when it comes to a family as a whole.

This will be one of the toughest outside influences that comes with PTSD. Family is suppose to be there for each other, be there for support, and be there just to simply have someone to talk to. And some ARE, but that is not always going to happen in life, and especially not when any type of mental illness/disorder comes into your lives. There is too much stigma still and the fact that many family members do not want to accept that it happened to their family or feel that one should still be living a “normal” life.

We personally have a mixed combination in our family. We have some that get it… the best they can without living with it, we have ones that really don’t understand but are still supportive, and we have those that just think it’s not real and treat us like we should be living what they view as “normal” lives. So I personally know all sides to this family struggle.

Even with all that I share with the world, the personal stories I tell to help others, and the changes in our lives that are first hand seen by others, there are still those that are refusing to accept it happened to us. It’s just a part of life.

Over the years it’s come down to I will teach what I can to those who want to learn or want to know about PTSD. The ones that truly care about being a part of our lives still. I don’t push it on anyone, it’s their choice to ask questions or bring up conversation, and once that door is open you can bet I’m going to talk about it. If something comes up in conversation then I will speak in total honesty. I will debate if need be with the facts, sometimes it takes that to get one to understand the best possible without being in our shoes or at least to help them accept PTSD, but I will not stress myself or my husband out over it, that’s a battle that’s just not needed for anyone.

The ones that cause more grief than happiness, who would rather battle about it or how our lives are now than appreciate the fact that we are in their lives, well, we keep them at arms length. Outside influences can be a huge struggle and cause a ton of conflict, and that is not something a PTSD family needs. Your battle with PTSD is hard enough without adding someone’s negative beliefs or behaviors to it. I by no means want to throw any family structure away, why would I? I love ALL of my family, but when it causes more conflict than good, sometimes that arms length and not having them so close is the only way to survive how they are responding to the fact that PTSD has become a part of your life or that our life is now different.

At times you may have to put a small distance in between you and someone else. It can save everyone from it ending up in no contact at all. It can save families from falling apart and support of some sort from being lost. When you place that small distance, if they care, they are going to ask you what is wrong or why haven’t they heard from you. And if they do, that’s when facts are laid on the table and you tell them the simple “It’s difficult when you can’t accept us/me for what has happened to us/me and the fact that our lives have changed”. No arguing, no frustration, just a simple statement from the heart. One of two things are going to happen… The distance will come back into play or they will stop and think about what is laid before them.

Family IS really needed, especially when it comes to PTSD being a part of life. But you have to find ways of understanding and working through or around the conflict that can come as well, whether it’s due to PTSD or just simply the conflicts that can come with a family. When PTSD is a part of everyday life, there’s just no energy or room for drama, gossip, family feuds, the you need to do this or that, and the he said she said mentality. Families with PTSD need some sort of peace in their lives. The battle needs to be together against PTSD, not with each other or one being thrown into other family conflicts that in reality has nothing to do with them or should not be there to begin with.

I can honestly say to those who do not suffer from PTSD, if you do not find some type of understanding on neutral grounds with the one who has PTSD and those living with that person, you stand a huge chance of that person/those people walking completely away from you and out of your life. It’s just a fact that comes with all of it.

PTSD is a huge battle that takes a lot of energy to make it from one day to the next. It takes a lot of energy to work through it and learn to live life with it in a relationship as well as the immediate family unit. Outside negativity is not something that is needed. Each situation is going to be handled on a case by case basis, and to what that person can or can not handle depending on where they stand at the moment with their PTSD or as the one standing beside them.

If you are a family member that does not live with or understand what your loved one with PTSD and/or their immediate family members experience, please take caution with your words, your battles, and your actions. We don’t need anyone living with PTSD losing their family support.

One with PTSD and their immediate family members are going to do what is best for themselves in order to cope with PTSD and to keep stress levels down, THEY HAVE TO. It’s a part of how one with PTSD and their immediate family members survive and find ways to live with PTSD being a part of life. Please do not bring extra stress to them, if you do it might just be you that loses something important in your life… THEM! That is NOT what ANYONE needs or wants!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

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Right and Wrong forms of Support

Right and Wrong forms of Support

I mentioned this the other day in one of my postings, and last night it really hit home and weighed on me. So I wanted to go ahead and talk about this.

People who do not live with someone who has PTSD or Depressive disorder (or other unseen disabilities), in many cases… seem to really not understand what “correct” support is! This can be so frustrating, can anger you, can send you in a deeper depression, can cause the greatest guilt you have ever witnessed.

Ones that don’t take the time to “get it”… understand the disorder/illness at hand, offer support in a way they would offer to anyone else. So I’m not dismissing that they might have good intentions, many times they won’t see that what they are doing is actually causing more damage. I’m saying there is a right and wrong way when it comes to an unseen disability.

So let me give you an example and maybe this will help…

A person calls and says they need your help with something, let’s say yard work just for the sake of an example. It goes something like this…

Person calling:
“Oh there is just so much we have to do and the yard really needs to be mowed and trimmed up. Oh and those hedges, they have gotten so tall and we just can’t get everything done by our self. I have this, this, and this I need to be doing instead. Well, you have time on your hands, I need you to come over and do this for me.”

Okay, no big deal right? The one with PTSD loves helping other people out! Especially if it’s family or friends. But let’s take a deeper look into what was said from the view of the one with PTSD or their spouse.

Person with PTSD:
“Hey they want me to do this, this and this. I have to do it. I will have to watch what time of day because of my medications and the heat. I am so tired because I didn’t get any sleep or little sleep over the past, well forever. After a rough night I fell back asleep, I missed getting up to do that before the heat, now it’s too late. I can’t manage to get this done around my own house but I have to put that to the side and go do this for them because they expect me to. I have no energy. They keep bugging me so I need to get this done. I have no energy. I can’t let them down. I have to do this. I rarely leave the house but I have to do this. Oh look at my own yard, I can’t even manage to get it done myself. But I have to do this for them…….” Then lays down a sleeps the rest of the day.

I know in that last part I said the same things more then once, I did that on purpose because that is exactly what happens.

What just happened? By all means the one with PTSD WANTS to do this for someone else. But at the same time the anxiety built up. The expectations grew and were out of control, the thought of not being able to accomplish things of your own but yet being told to help someone else made them feel bad. Guilt set in on it’s highest level. In this example medications and heat were an issue which narrow the time frame of expectations, causing even more anxiety and guilt. The fact that there is lack of sleep involved therefore lack of energy, which means after this thing asked is done, this person will probably crash and not be able to do much if anything for a few days. The repeat of being told what needs to be done is a huge guilt trip.

I’m sure the person asking for this favor has every good intention. So I will give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are trying to push the person to get out of the house, maybe they are trying to get them to be active, maybe they think this will be “good” for them to be included in helping out… or maybe they just don’t get it and are treating this person like there is nothing wrong with them?

Things like this can be handled in a much better way. I just showed you what approaching a situation as in this example can do to someone with an unseen disability. Now let me show you a very simple, easier way to approach the same example…

Proper support:
“Hey we are going to be working on the yard today which has become overwhelming to us, if you are up for helping you are more then welcome to come over. If not that’s okay too, we understand.” And don’t say it again!

Do you see the huge difference? Wording things to where what you want to say is said, but also in a way that does not place expectations, guilt, or even harassing manner, I can almost promise you will work much better… and for both people!

Work, another example…

Wrong support:
“You are the best at the job you were doing. Don’t give up, go get another job doing that. There’s nothing wrong with you and you can still do the same thing. Why are you just letting your career go? You are letting yourself and us down, go get another job. We know you can still do this, you were so good at it.”

Person with PTSD:
“I let them down. I’m not good at anything anymore. I was the best and everyone knows that, now I’m nothing! I failed. That was my life dreams and now I’m nothing. I’m worthless. I can’t do what I did before. I’m damaged goods. I should be doing my dream job right now and living life to it’s fullest as I expected to, but I can’t. Look at all of my education wasted! All those awards mean nothing, I failed my family and myself!….”

OUCH! The person that was trying to be supportive, or just not accepting the unseen disability, could have just honestly pushed the one with PTSD into ending their life! You think that is a strong statement? Well let me tell you, it’s a pretty honest and serious one! To the one without PTSD, they view it as pushing the person in a positive way that they can indeed still do what they are good at, that they should not give up. However, look what their view of positive turned into. Not so good when an unseen disability is involved.

Correct support:
“I know you have to figure out what you can or can not do with your disabilities, but I just want you to notice and remember how many accomplishments you have made in your life. Just because you may not do what you expected you would be doing, does not mean you won’t find something else you are wonderful at also. Life comes with changes, and this is just one of them. And look, you get to find something new you will enjoy just as much.”

See the difference? Wrong support and/or wording can throw someone with PTSD into a huge downward spiral. To the point that they honestly want to end their life. It does not mean you have to pamper them or treat them differently, it means you choose your words wisely and remember that a disability is indeed there. There are many ways to word things to keep things positive, and to avoid making them feel guilty or unworthy… or even make them feel as if they are a burden and everyone would be better off without them. Think about what you say before speaking!

These are only two examples of many, but I hope you care enough to get my point. Your words can honestly be the difference between someone wanting to live and move forward, or sadly… want to end their life.

PTSD and other disabilities are very real. Rather you are one that believes they are or not, you really need to take a good look at what the facts are. And right now the fact is 22 veterans and 1 active duty member are taking their own lives each day, that’s higher then war itself… and that’s only reported cases in the United States and not including civilian or world wide. If those numbers don’t scream PTSD is real, then I honestly don’t know what does!

It only takes a minute to think about “how” what you do or say to someone will effect them. It only takes a little bit of time for you learn the difference between correct and wrong support. Things have changed when PTSD becomes a part of your life or your family’s life. And with that change everyone needs to learn how to be supportive in a way that will actually help not hinder your loved one.

PLEASE take the time! Take the time to CARE!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Parents/Family members of one with PTSD

Parents/Family Members and PTSD

If YOU are a parent or family member of one that has been diagnosed with PTSD or has told you they believe they have it, I really hope you take the time to read this. This is urgent. I know you love your “child” or family member, but there are some things you really need to know!

One of the largest “outside” battles the one with PTSD may experience is family members. I know there are some family members that are understanding and supportive, even if they don’t understand PTSD and what it brings.

But then there are the other ones, and I dearly hope that you do not fall into this category and if you do I hope this will help you understand. There are the ones that don’t get it, the ones that don’t believe PTSD is real, the ones that don’t accept it happened to “their” child (family member). It’s that “it can’t happen to me/my child” syndrome.

If you want to throw someone who is suffering from PTSD into a tailspin with a crash landing (which very well could be fatal in many cases), being one that does not accept another person’s PTSD, especially your “child” or family member, will do just that!

I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus here, so to speak, but I do hope if you are one of those family members YOU will take the time to read this and really listen to what I have to say.

(Anyplace I say “parent” in here can also mean “family member”)

PTSD is VERY real! I will be honest, when my husband started acting in different ways then his normal, every red flag that could go up did! We did not know it was PTSD at the time, we didn’t even know what PTSD was. And let me tell you, it almost destroyed both of us! I watched the strongest, most head strong, level headed, leader quality man I knew, fall to his knees. PTSD affects what I call “the best of the best”, the strongest ones who have taken everything thrown their way and keep on going… then their mind says enough is enough. They are not weak even with PTSD, it takes an extremely strong person to battle what PTSD brings.

When the term PTSD was put to it, and I knew the man I knew was not acting like he normally would in huge noticeable ways, I researched, I studied, I talked to other people, and I looked for answers!

Now, I was living with him, so I knew the ins and outs of what every day was like, I saw his struggles up close and personal. I had an advantage that parents and family members many times don’t have. If you do not live with the person that has been diagnosed with PTSD, chances are you will not see or hear from them unless it’s one of their good days.

Parents, my heart truly goes out to you! You raised your child to be strong, educated, independent, you put your all into making sure they had the best life imaginable. Now you are being told your “child” has a mental disorder, a mental illness, and that they are no longer the child you knew and raised, something happened to them that has changed everything. Many parents just can not accept that!

Then there are the parents that know in their hearts and minds that they were so busy trying to provide for their child so that child had everything they needed, that they just couldn’t be there physically as needed. You might have some guilt weighing on you and blame yourself for a child now experiencing this. In these cases, many times a parent will not accept PTSD because if they don’t accept it, then it’s not possibly their fault for a child suffering.

The “there’s nothing wrong with you” comes out of your mouth, because in your heart you can not accept that a mental illness has affected YOUR child. Or you just don’t believe mental illnesses exist or are carrying the stigma that comes with them. Those things are hard to swallow. It’s your child.

Now to the sad facts about PTSD. If PTSD were not real, then why, in the United States alone, and only military/veteran related “reported” cases… that does not include civilians, are 22 (and I saw a new number this week of 23, not sure if that is correct) people taking their own lives with their own hands EACH day? These people committing suicide are the strong ones, the ones who have been through every unthinkable thing one could imagine or experience, the ones who fight for our freedom and serve our country. Doesn’t that seem odd to you if PTSD does not exist? And many of these cases are due to the lack of support and/or understanding from others.

The numbers are very real. And I don’t know a parent out there that would gamble their own child’s life on the chance. Would you? If you have been told your loved one has PTSD, you really need to think about what I just said. Are you willing to gamble your child’s life on the fact you don’t believe in mental illness, or because you don’t want to believe it has happened to your child, or because you fear the stigma mental illness does bring? I doubt it!

PTSD requires support, positive support! When one battles what PTSD causes, it’s not something to be taken lightly, it’s a huge battle and your child is going to need you! Even if you do not understand PTSD, you can learn. You can learn what they go through, which again you might not always see, and you can learn how to be of help to them. You can learn how to be properly supportive, and trust me, there is a wrong way of support also, so take the time to learn the difference. PTSD changes things, but it does not change the fact they are your child and they do still need you… and to be honest, they need you now more then ever.

If your child is married or has someone special in their life, listen to that person. They are NOT the one doing this to your child. PTSD and “what happened” to your child is. There are too many battles going on between family members, too many spouses having to waste their time trying to convince family members the truth of PTSD, and I say waste because in honesty it is just that. They need that time to take care of YOUR child, to help them be the best they can be, to help them make it from one day to the next, and that spouse needs you too!

When you battle between family members all you are doing is causing more stress and conflict within your family, and a lot of additional stress on the one with PTSD. You have to set that to the side so you can be there for your loved one. If you don’t, that stress being caused can do great damage to the one with PTSD and to your family structure. One with PTSD has a large enough battle as it is, and if you are adding to that battle there are a couple of things that realistically can/will happen… your child is either going to walk away from you or that child might become one in those numbers above I already mentioned.

YOU are their parent. Everything you say, do, or act like they take into account. They look up to you. They value your opinion. They trust you. PTSD is very real, please for the sake of your child and your family, don’t dismiss it! Stop the battling between you over if something is real or not and look at the numbers. It’s very real and you need to be battling PTSD together, not battling each other.

If someone comes to you and says the term “PTSD”, you really need to listen with an open mind. It takes a lot for one who suffers from PTSD to take that step. Listen when they do, if they came to you, they need you.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Category: Family (not living together), Uncategorized  Comments off